19. August 2019 · Comments Off on Squaw Butte’s Member Bill Selkirk – Wilderness Volunteer Pack-In · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

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It is a long way from Mattawan, Michigan to Stanley, Idaho but member Bill Selkirk has made that trek a number of year to work on projects with the Squaw Butte chapter. Life long friend of Rob Adams, Bill joined BCHI in 2004, and has participated in both packing support and trail clearing project. The latest is a pack-in support project for the Wilderness Volunteers.Central Idaho’s Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth Wilderness are known for the rugged grandeur of their soaring 10,000 foot peaks, flowery mountain meadows, crystal clear lakes, towering alpine forests, and abundant wildlife, including elk, mountain goats, black bear, wolves, wolverines and pikas! Backpacking and hiking are spectacular in this country, and trout fishing is exceptional in backcountry lakes and streams. Our journey will begin at the beautiful Stanley Lake – just a few miles outside of the alluring mountain community of Stanley, Idaho. The area has several accessible hot springs, historic sites and other great places to play in and explore.

Our service project will be trail maintenance in the remarkable Sawtooth Wilderness. We’ll set up a base camp at McGown Lakes at 8505’ elevation after a backpack of 7.9 miles with 1,900′ elevation gain with pack support for tools, food and commissary supplies. Crew will camp at McGown Lakes and hike about a mile to project location on other side of 8,800’ pass. Our project will be to assist the Forest Service to complete trail maintenance of many of the trails out of our basecamp at McGown Lakes. Most of the work will be focused on heavy trail maintenance and tread repair (Iron Creek – Stanley Lake Trail 640) above Sawtooth Lake. Tread will need to be regraded to standard width with hand tools, rocks removed with hand tools and some rock wall constructed. Free time can be spent exploring the ever beautiful Sawtooth Wilderness – relaxing, fishing in alpine lakes, taking pictures, or setting off on a more strenuous hike to the secluded Trail Creek Lakes.

We highly recommend that those coming from low elevation (anything below about 5,000 feet) plan an extra couple days in the area before the trip to acclimate to the elevation for your own safety. Altitude sickness is a concern when traveling from low elevation to high elevation and getting acclimatized before the trip is one of the easiest ways to prevent it. If you need ideas on things to do/see before the trip contact your leaders.Trail Head at Stanley Lake
Elevation: 6,525.59 ft. Lat: 44.255891 Lon: -115.046060

McGown Lake
Elevation: 8,517.06 ft. Lat: 44.178483 Lon: -115.076432

On Saturday August 17, Tom Zahradnicek, David Benson, Bill Selkirk and Rob Adams joined a Wilderness Volunteer seven member crew and Bryce Parker (Sawtooth lead wilderness ranger) at the Stanley Lake overflow area. The WV crew were going to back pack in their personal stuff, while we were packing in tools, kitchen and food. Between us we had seven pack stock and it look like they were going to have light loads.  During the night one of David’s mules got her self tangled in high line and lead rope and ended up on her back with her legs tied up like a calf at a rodeo.  She seems to have suffered no major damage, but in the morning had a very swollen leg and a nice limp so David and his stock needed to head back to Caldwell and not into the mountains.  With five pack stock left, we divided the gear and built loads and by 09:30 were heading up the trail for the 9.8 miles to McGown Lake.

The trail up Stanley creek canyon is a very easy ride for about 2/3 of it length with a number of crossings of the creek for water opportunities for the stock. The last section to the saddle that crosses into the Payette river drainage is a number of switch backs up a steep and rocky wall. At the sign for McGown lake the trail turns into a goat path that climbs over a ridge and down into a basin that contains a number of ponds and small lakes, the largest and most scenic we left the equipment we packed in.At 5 pm we arrived back at the trailers, tired, sore and very satisfied at the days work. Bill will be heading out soon to visit his brother in New Mexico, but he will have some great memories of his day in the Sawtooth mountain visiting an area he had not ridden before. Link to more pictures

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